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Multi-Channel Math: How Retail Sales Tax Complexity Adds Up

Getting a handle on sales tax complexity in the retail industry is like solving a vexing math problem: the number of factors and variables in this dynamic equation continually increases. Start with tens of thousands of tax rates and rules, then update the equation to figure in 800 or so annual rate changes (in the U.S. alone). Next, add in a potentially dizzying number of discounts, sales tax holidays, miscellaneous fees, services adjustments, local jurisdictional differences and relevant exemptions (if you can track them down). Finally, multiply that figure by the number of products your retail company offers and the growing number of sales channels the company uses to reach customers.

“For retail CEOs and their organizations, avoiding complexity is not an option – the choice comes in how they respond to it,” asserts an IBM report.

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